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Entrepreneur Finds The True Meaning Of “No Sweat”
When Jeff Schattner tells people “don’t sweat it,” he not only means what he says. He literally shows how — in a way to make clothing more comfortable.
Schattner, with a career that gave him experience in finance and accounting positions, has developed a business that manufactures and sells dress shirts able to wick away perspiration and keep the material feeling dry.
Shirts from Lawrence Hunt Fashion (LH) — which Schattner set up using his dad’s first and middle names — are available online. They also will be shown in person during a charity event with a celebrity presence.
“I wanted to create the ideal dress shirt, one that is not only stylish and professional looking but also is breathable and comfortable,” says Schattner, who grew up outside Washington, D.C., graduated from the University of Michigan (U-M) and decided to stay in the state.
The core idea for the shirts came to him in 2013 while attending an outdoor wedding in 90-degree temperatures. As bride and groom exchanged vows, he silently vowed to work at coming up with apparel that could remain dry under sweltering conditions and reduce the effects of perspiration.
“Although I started my career in accounting, even when I was at U-M, I was in an entrepreneurial program,” Schattner, 34, recalls. “I was running an online clothing resale business to help pay for my books.
“After that wedding, I wondered, why can’t someone combine the material in golf shirts with the material in dress shirts and get the benefits of both fabrics — the functionality of athletic wear and the look and feel of cotton.
“I went to Google and searched for somebody in the area who could help sew a prototype and found a fashion student. In 2014, we launched a center for our concept and set up a successful Kickstarter campaign.”
In 2015, the shirt was revamped, and the line was launched in 2016. In its first month, he filled 10 orders, almost all from friends and family. Now, Lawrence Hunt reports 3,000 customers.
While most of the 100-percent Egyptian cotton shirts are made for men, there are three styles made for women. White shirts and blue-checkered shirts have been the most popular. With loyalty to U-M, a maize and blue version became available and, in the interest of non-discrimination, a Michigan State-inspired shirt has not been far behind.
The special event, the Lawrence Hunt Charity Trunk Show, has been scheduled for June 29 at Detroit is the New Black to showcase the growing line for prospective and continuing customers while benefiting the community.
For every shirt purchased at the showing, one will be donated to the Michigan Veterans Foundation. Fifty percent of all sales proceeds that evening will be donated to Camp Casey, which takes horses to the homes of young cancer patients and brings riding experiences to small groups of each youngster’s friends.
“We wanted to work with a unique charity that aligns with the innovative line that we are,” Schattner explains. “I think what the camp does is really cool.”
Those attending the charity event are likely to find it cool having their pictures taken with Detroit Tigers catcher James McCann, who will be modeling his favorite LH shirt. McCann is a brand ambassador and partner in the business.
McCann was attracted to the extra stretch he finds in the arms of the shirts. The design helps each shirt move with him and allows him to go out after a game without worrying about sweating.
“Sterling Shepard, a wide receiver for the New York Giants, came on the scene after he saw James McCann,” Schattner says. “We wanted to get into the New York market, and we thought he would be a good gateway into that market.
“We’re going to do a photoshoot with him at the end of July and roll out marketing with him at the start of the football season.”
While Schattner is forward-thinking in his business, he takes time to think back to work done by his late maternal grandfather, who worked on a shirt line, sewing and cutting in Montreal.
“We were able to talk a little about the business before he passed,” says Schattner, who had his bar mitzvah in the D.C. area.
LH, set up with advice from local Jewish entrepreneurs including those associated with Broner Glove and Safety and the Shirt Box, does all the designing, prototyping and fulfillment through facilities in and around Detroit. The prototyping and designing happen in Pontiac, and the shirts are shipped out of Warren.
“We were originally making the shirts in Detroit, but our facility stopped doing them,” Schattner explains. “A consultant here put us in touch with overseas manufacturers that could work on a larger scale. I’m hoping to do a higher-end line with shirts made in the United States and have a small retail presence in Detroit.”
Schattner, married and the father of two preschoolers, lives in Royal Oak.
“We really wanted to think about clothing in a different way,” he says. “I’d like to roll out what I call ‘a professional and performance line.’ I want people to think about clothing that’s comfortable throughout the day.”
Suzanne Chessler Contributing Writer
The Lawrence Hunt Charity Trunk Show runs 7:30-10:30 p.m. Thursday, June 29, at Detroit is the New Black. $30 includes appetizers, desserts and drinks.
Reservations are required and can be made at facebook.com/lawrencehuntfashion or at twitter.com/lawrencehunt_co. Information on the shirts is available at lhwear.com.